The mining industry is about to fall into a very deep hole

But there could be light at the end of the tunnel.

The mining industry finds itself in a very deep hole after new data from China.

China’s May figures show a dawdling second quarter in the world’s second largest economy. The effect was imminent on the Indian Rupee and the Australian dollar, but the biggest blow was delivered at mining companies, which fell 0.7 per cent. Commodity prices crippled from Australia to South Africa and Standard & Poor’s GSCI gauge of 24 raw materials dropped 0.5 per cent.

This whirlwind of data has sent tremors through mining companies everywhere, from board room to base camp. But why should this matter here in Britain, where mining is something more nostalgic than material?

The irony is that as Britain has lost all its mines, it has gained more mining companies. London has become the commodity centre of the world through the London Metal Exchange and, as a result, has some of the world’s largest mining companies: Anglo American, Glencore Xstrata and Rio Tinto are all listed here.

Aside from China’s depressing figures, it has not been a good spring for London’s listed miners. ENRC, the London listed Kazakh mining group is under investigation by the Serious Fraud Office for multiple counts of corruption while Bumi, already a boardroom battle ground, announced last week that it has “lost” $201m. Following these allegations, there are calls for the FSA to keep a closer eye on these UK-listed mining companies – that means more regulation.

But perhaps it is not all doom and gloom for London miners. Like with the banking industry, forced competition on the one hand and tighter regulation on the other might see a turnaround in an industry mired in controversy.

Photograph: Getty Images

Oliver Williams is an analyst at WealthInsight and writes for VRL Financial News

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PMQs review: Jeremy Corbyn turns "the nasty party" back on Theresa May

The Labour leader exploited Conservative splits over disability benefits.

It didn't take long for Theresa May to herald the Conservatives' Copeland by-election victory at PMQs (and one couldn't blame her). But Jeremy Corbyn swiftly brought her down to earth. The Labour leader denounced the government for "sneaking out" its decision to overrule a court judgement calling for Personal Independence Payments (PIPs) to be extended to those with severe mental health problems.

Rather than merely expressing his own outrage, Corbyn drew on that of others. He smartly quoted Tory backbencher Heidi Allen, one of the tax credit rebels, who has called on May to "think agan" and "honour" the court's rulings. The Prime Minister protested that the government was merely returning PIPs to their "original intention" and was already spending more than ever on those with mental health conditions. But Corbyn had more ammunition, denouncing Conservative policy chair George Freeman for his suggestion that those "taking pills" for anxiety aren't "really disabled". After May branded Labour "the nasty party" in her conference speech, Corbyn suggested that the Tories were once again worthy of her epithet.

May emphasised that Freeman had apologised and, as so often, warned that the "extra support" promised by Labour would be impossible without the "strong economy" guaranteed by the Conservatives. "The one thing we know about Labour is that they would bankrupt Britain," she declared. Unlike on previous occasions, Corbyn had a ready riposte, reminding the Tories that they had increased the national debt by more than every previous Labour government.

But May saved her jibe of choice for the end, recalling shadow cabinet minister Cat Smith's assertion that the Copeland result was an "incredible achivement" for her party. "I think that word actually sums up the Right Honourable Gentleman's leadership. In-cred-ible," May concluded, with a rather surreal Thatcher-esque flourish.

Yet many economists and EU experts say the same of her Brexit plan. Having repeatedly hailed the UK's "strong economy" (which has so far proved resilient), May had better hope that single market withdrawal does not wreck it. But on Brexit, as on disability benefits, it is Conservative rebels, not Corbyn, who will determine her fate.

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.